tv NBC10 Issue NBC December 31, 2017 11:30am-12:01pm EST
of your hard-earned money. real tips for saving more today, we've got simple ways to get your finances back on track for the new year, including new ways of thinking about your money that may surprise you. plus, the year in fact checking from the border wall promises to the new federal tax cuts. our partners at factcheck.org put the administration's statements to the test. and weight loss, are you doing all the right things, but continue to pack on the pounds? what doctors say could be sabotaging your weight loss goals, and here's the good part, it's easy to fix. male announcer: "nbc10 @issue" starts now. erin: good morning to you, i'm erin coleman for "nbc10 @issue." we begin with your money and how to keep more of it in your wallet this new year, simple tips for a financial rescue plan that can help really just about anyone.
joining me is jamie hopkins. hopkins is an associate professor at the american college of financial services in bryn mawr, pennsylvania. he teaches estate and retirement planning. jamie, thanks for being here with us. jamie hopkins: erin, thanks for having me on. erin: all right, let's jump right in. we've got a couple of tips, and your first financial rescue tip has to do with holiday gift cash. let's say you were lucky enough to get $100 from grandma this year. what do you do with that money? jamie: yeah, the first thing i tell people to do, especially around the holidays, is pay off that credit card, right, that you probably spent some money on it, right, buying other people some holiday gifts. so, if you get $100 back, make sure you put that towards things that have the highest interest kind of tied to them, which is almost always your credit card debt. erin: a lot of people may have overspent this holiday season. and when you see that number, it's a big number. is $100 really going to make that big of a difference? jamie: yeah, so $100 or $150, it all makes a big difference with the credit card because if you have an interest rate at 20, 25%, you know, that's a substantial debt
that's growing if you're letting that balance sit. so, i know a lot of people want to say, "well, that's why i use my credit card so i didn't have to pay it today." but if you think about it, right, did you want to pay 25% more on all the purchases that you made this season? probably not, right? so, even if you can put $100 against it, it's saving that interest moving forward. it's one of the best places to put it. now, you can also look at other places to put it, into some savings, or into the stock market, into an ira, but that credit card debt's typically the first one that you should tackle. erin: and if it's a big number, don't get discouraged. just keep at it, keep chipping away at the number. jamie: yeah. and so, one of the things about that is some people actually start with the smallest account balances first. erin: i've heard that, yeah. jamie: and that actually comes from a behavioral aspect of finance, and that's actually a bad behavioral thing. so, people tend to see a $25 account and a $50 account, and that actually feels worse than one $75 account. so, people typically take on the $25 account first. but what you should do is always search for the highest interest
rate one first, and it's hard to overcome that because we have that aversion to multiple debt accounts. erin: yeah, all right. so, what if you can't make a payment one month? what should you do? jamie: yeah, so if you can't make, you know, some payment, whether it's credit card, house, other debt, you really got to prioritize your payments, and that's what you need to do. you need to think about what things do i need to be able to pay this month. so, you know, utilities, you don't want your heat, water shut off. you don't want your mortgage to not be paid. so, those are things you should really deal with first, and i say those are our necessities. then you can move to things that have collateral attached to it, so maybe your car, because you also don't want somebody coming to repossess your car. now, the third one there that you might not be able to meet, maybe you have a doctor's payment, or a credit card. those could actually be in a third bucket. so, i would deal with the other two first, and then you get to those. they're not going to come collect this month. and you can often call a doctor's office, hospital, or even your credit card company to negotiate a payment plan
or even a lower payment. erin: to have them work with you. okay, the next tip, you say when it comes to building your budget, don't do mental accounting. what does that mean, and what should we do? jamie: yeah. so, mental accounting, again, another behavioral finance term. and what that is, is we think about money, that different piles of money are for different things, that you might have a jar that says, you know, "this is for emergencies, this is for our vacation." and you're putting money in there every month. and then you think, "well, we also have a credit card debt over here." and those are different things, we pay our credit card debt with our income each month. well, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. money is fungible, and what that means is it's really all the same. you shouldn't have a jar sitting there with money in it that's getting no interest or growth on it, while you have credit card debt over here. so, what that means is you have to think about all of your money as the same. and people like to put money into different buckets for different reasons, but that really financially doesn't make any sense, but that's kind of where mental accounting,
we need to overcome that hurdle. erin: so, is it also about putting pen to paper? i mean, actually physically write it down so you can see it? jamie: yeah, so you actually do need to write things down. that helps you visualize and follow through, so we know that from athletes all the way through. so, i actually grew up swimming with michael phelps. and he actually wrote down when he was a kid that he wanted to be in the olympics. and he used to look in the mirror and think about himself receiving a gold medal. now, that still applies to budgeting and everything else we want to accomplish in life. so, put the goals down, visualize them, and you're more likely to follow through. erin: there you go. all right, let's talk about medical bills. you touched on this a minute ago, but your advice is to call and negotiate a lower fee. how do you do that? and does it really work, especially with medical bills? jamie: yeah, so medical bills is one where hospitals, they usually have finance departments which will help you with payment plans or interest rates if you can't pay it. and they'll come up with-- and they'll work with you. so, that's a little bit different than some of your other debts, but medical bills is definitely one
where you can negotiate. now, you might hear advice you can also renegotiate credit card debt. that's really hard. i don't know a lot of people who have successfully done that. will it occur? yes, but it's going to take a lot of work, it's a lot of phone calls, a lot of people telling you, "no, we're not going to let you do that." but with hospital bills, medical bills, sometimes if you can make a lump-sum payment, they'll actually drop it down, or allow you to pay over a number of months without interest accruing. so, those are good conversations to have if money gets a little tight around the holiday season. erin: negotiate, all right, good tip. what about pre-paying your mortgage? some people add a little extra to their monthly payments to pay the loan off faster. is that a good use of the extra cash? jamie: yeah, so, this is one area that i'm really strict on. you should not be pre-paying your mortgage. with mortgage rates at, you know, under 4% or 4 and a quarter, it's not a good use of money. that's actually a really low interest rate, and they're really designed for long periods of payments, and you should stick to that payment.
pre-paying it is really giving up opportunity to use that money better elsewhere, whether it's paying off credit card debt, or whether it's just investing it, putting it away for retirement. if you're getting 8% returns in your investments, why put it at something that's only 4%, your mortgage? so, that really from a financial stand--financial planning standpoint doesn't make a whole lot of sense, it's not a great strategy, but people feel comfortable doing that. erin: yeah, so resist if you can. jamie: yeah, resist that. i know you want to feel like you're paying off the house faster, but it's not a great financial decision. erin: all right, you also say most workers make one big mistake when it comes to fixing their finances, and that involves raises. jamie: yeah, so a lot of people are very hesitant about asking for it, right? we see that through data, actually see a lot of women tend to be a little bit more hesitant from some research to ask for raises. so, but there's a strategy about that. it's not just you wake up one day, you rush into your boss's office, and say, "i need more money today."
and that word's actually a bad one, the need. you don't want to have that conversation that you need something. you want to frame it in, you know, "i've done a good job this year, i'm looking towards the future, what are my goals, and this is the value that i bring to this place." and that could be anywhere you work. and with low unemployment today, you know, wages rising, there's some--a little bit more negotiable power there from the worker to actually bring this conversation up. the other thing is don't compare yourself to other workers and say that they got a raise, or they make this much. that sets it in kind of a bad tone, so you want to be very positive and proactive. erin: about what you've done, what you've contributed. jamie: and so that just-- that puts it in a good light, and you allow your boss to come to the realization that you're adding value there. erin: and get the courage up to do that. all right, here's some more money-saving tips from the website, the simple dollar. sell your unwanted items. recent research finds an average yard sale nets more than $100. sign up for every free customer rewards program that you can,
that includes gas, discounts from the supermarket. remove your credit card numbers from your online accounts, that's a biggie. shoppers with stored numbers are more likely to hit the buy button. and finally, make a visual reminder of your debt, write down how much you owe, and keep it where you can see it. update it as you pay it down. and a final tip, automate your savings and your bills. use your bank to make automatic payments to your savings account and to your credit. late payments can wreck your credit score and your savings. in 2015, credit card companies collected more than $11 billion in penalty fees. that's huge, $11 billion. all right, some good tips there, some great tips from you, jamie hopkins, from the american college of financial services. thanks for that. jamie: thank you, erin. i appreciate your time. erin: all right, next, on "nbc10 @issue," the year in review, our partners at factcheck.org separate the fact from fiction when it comes to healthcare, the russian interference
erin: there's been no shortage of material in 2017 for our partners at factcheck.org. the border wall, obamacare, and the russian investigation just a few of the topics factcheck has taken on. here's a look at a year of separating fact from fiction. rob farley: it's been a busy year for fact-checkers, there's certainly no doubt about that. erin: january 2017, donald trump takes credit for putting people back to work a week before he took office. he took to twitter to say ford motor companies scrapped plans to build a plant in mexico, and instead invest billions to ramp up electric car production in the us because of him. factcheck.org says not the case. the decision was market-driven according to ford. eugene kiely: the ceo, mark fields, said that they would have made this decision regardless of whether trump won the election or not.
erin: february 2017, white house senior policy adviser stephen miller says president trump lost new hampshire because of voter fraud. factcheck.org spoke to former new hampshire attorney general thomas rath, a republican, and the former head of the republican party in the state. rob: and both of them told us that this is a baseless and false claim, and preposterous in the words of one of them. erin: april 2017, border wall promises. donald trump: the wall's going to get built, folks, just in case anybody has any question. the wall's going to get built. erin: the president tells the associated press it will be built for $10 billion or less. eugene: the estimate of $10 billion or less, though, is contrary to what estimates are out there right now from his own department of homeland security, and some independent studies that we looked at. erin: the homeland security department's estimated cost is $21.6 billion. may 2017, president trump fires fbi director james comey on the ninth, and defends his decision during an interview
with lester holt days later. donald: he's a showboat, he's a grandstander. the fbi has been in turmoil, you know that, i know that, everybody knows that. erin: trump and comey had dinner at the white house in january, and met privately again on february 14. shortly after that, comey wrote a memo claiming the president asked him to drop the fbi investigation of michael flynn, who resigned as national security adviser the day before. the president denied it while talking to holt. june 2017, comey testifies before a senate intelligence committee. he told lawmakers he leaked the memo after a trump tweet that insinuated the valentine's day meeting was taped. james comey: my judgment was i needed to get that out into the public square. and so, i asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. erin: trump's attorney mark kasowitz fires back, saying the new york times was quoting the comey memo the day before the tweet.
eugene: we know that the new york times had written other stories about these memos. but there's no evidence that comey was responsible for those leaks. the only thing comey had talked about was one memo, the flynn memo, and that story appeared 4 days after the trump tweet. erin: july 2017, president trump downplays russia's meddling in the november election. female: will you, once and for all, yes or no, definitively say that russia interfered in the 2016 election? donald: think it could very well have been russia, but i think it could well have been other countries, and i won't be specific. but i think a lot of people interfered. rob: there's no evidence for that. the us intelligence community has pointed a finger at russia, and only russia, as the culprit for the cyberattacks into the democratic national committee's email system. erin: august 2017, spending promises. donald: and i'll tell you, we're spending a lot of money on the inner cities. erin: but factcheck.org says trump's budget would
cut programs to low-income people living in inner cities, including community development block grants. rob: that's money that cities can use for affordable housing, for infrastructure, to connect people with jobs. erin: september 2017, back to the border wall. donald: the wall will stop much of the drugs from pouring into this country and poisoning our youth. eugene: and he says this a lot, we've heard this before. but we don't predict the future here, but we can look at the facts. erin: factcheck.org says mexican drug cartels smuggle most of their drugs through legal ports of entry. more talk about obamacare in october. president trump says he's ending critical cost-sharing subsidies to insurance companies for low-income people, saying the companies are making a fortune. factcheck.org says insurance companies are making money in spite of obamacare, not because of it. november 2017, president trump talking taxes, calling the sweeping overhaul of the tax code introduced
by the house the biggest tax cut ever. in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to factcheck.org, it's the fourth-largest tax cut in history. the final gop tax bill is the largest one-time reduction in the corporate tax rate in us history. december 2017, president trump goes after the fbi, saying the agency treated michael flynn unfairly. donald: i will say this. hillary clinton lied many times to the fbi, nothing happened to her. flynn lied, and they've destroyed his life. i think it's a shame. erin: the president is referring to the investigation into hillary clinton's email use while secretary of state. factcheck.org points to former fbi director james comey's testimony about the investigation before congress. eugene: and he said there was no basis to conclude she lied to the fbi. so, as we put it, there's no evidence of it. erin: our partnership with factcheck.org continues into 2018, and researchers are preparing for another busy year.
,000 deaths in america last year. we need to stand up and say enough. the only way this problem is going to be solved is if we raise our voices. choose help over helplessness, hope over hopelessness. make sure that the lives we've lost will not have been lost in vain. addiction is a disease. when you ask for help, help is there for you.
erin: it is likely your number one resolution for the new year, lose weight. most experts tell us it's also the most likely resolution to fail. so, if dropping a few pounds is on your list, we have some help for you. with me now, dietitian kelly jones. jones is board-certified, and she specializes in sports dietetics and nutrition. thanks for being here. kelly jones: yeah, thank you for having me. erin: all right, first let's talk about what is putting the kibosh on our diets here all around, and a lot of it has to do with sleep. kelly: sleep, stress, absolutely. a lot of people don't recognize that when they're lacking in sleep, they're going to release a lot more stress hormones
throughout the day, and it's going to make it harder to pay attention to your hunger, and your appetite, and even your fullness signals. so, you're more apt to overeat or reach for things that maybe your body doesn't really need. erin: and when you talk about stress, i mean, just stressed out because you're also thinking about losing weight, all of that. kelly: well, that causes stress, too, absolutely. people have really unrealistic goals for their weight loss, and that alone can bring about extra stress, versus if they had a realistic goal for how much they wanted to lose, the time frame, and the way that they plan to do it. erin: okay, so getting a few more hours, a few more minutes even, can that really make a difference? kelly: it absolutely can. and the quality of your sleep matters, too. so, people sometimes don't recognize that even if they're drinking caffeine all day long and they can still fall asleep, are you really getting the quality that you need to once you do fall asleep at night? and the recommendation is somewhere between 7 and 9 hours a night, and females actually tend to need a little bit more than males do. erin: wow, all right. so, before we even start the dieting process, we could be sabotaging ourselves, so something we need to pay attention to. kelly: absolutely.
erin: all right. the new science is all about gut health and losing weight. talk about that. kelly: right, so a lot of people hear about how it's important to have probiotics, and eat yogurt because there's probiotics in there, and it supports a healthy gut. and people don't really realize that the bacteria that are in our lower digestive tract actually kind of speak to our brain. so, they're really important for regulating our immune system, for keeping inflammation down, which is related to our metabolism, our chronic disease risk, and related to mental health, too. erin: so, what should we be thinking about when we think about gut health? kelly: right, so there's a lot of foods that you want to include more of. and that's what tends to be the focus when people are losing weight is what to restrict. we want people to add things instead. so, some of the foods that people are going to restrict are rich in carbohydrates, like whole grains. and those are foods that actually have some prebiotic fiber, we call it prebiotics 'cause it sort of feeds those good bacteria in our gut. so, do legumes. beans and lentils are a really healthy food group to add in. and obviously fruits and vegetables, too.
erin: all right, so look at what you can add, not necessarily all about what you've got to deprive yourself of. kelly: right, and when you're depriving yourself, what are you thinking about all the time? what you can't have, right? so, if you focus more on, "oh, i need more of this or more of that," then your diet kind of falls into place. erin: all right, help us lose weight all around. what are we doing? so many diets fail, and this is the time of year when people are like, "okay, i'm going to get on track, january 1." what are we doing wrong? kelly: most diets fail, and what's interesting is that the word "diet" just means a pattern of eating. and we need to recognize that we need to find the pattern that works best for us. so, the pattern that works best for me is likely not the same pattern that's going to work well for you because we have different genetics, we have different lifestyles, and we have different food preferences, too. so, we want to make sure that the foods that we continue to eat are satisfying, that we actually enjoy them. and you know, that can help with reducing stress throughout the day, too. and again, it's something that you can do for the rest of your life. so, i always advocate for, you know, focusing on behavior change. what are things in your lifestyle,
little baby steps, that you can change that are going to make you healthier? versus something that you're just going to do for a month and then you're going to stop doing it, right? erin: not the quick fix. we're looking at the marathon, not the sprint, right, when it comes to this. kelly: and then, come next january 1, you don't have to worry about, "oh, i need to improve my health, and how am i going to lose all this weight?" because you found the pattern that's worked for you 'cause you took the longer time to do it. erin: there's been a long debate about what's the key to weight loss, counting calories, counting fat. what's the answer? kelly: i say count neither. i think it's more important to focus on your internal cues for hunger and fullness. if we're counting calories meticulously, or we're trying to count grams of fat meticulously, what ends up happening is that you don't pay attention when you're truly hungry. and then if you're depriving yourself when you really need something, that harms your metabolism, and your mood, and your mental health, too. so, if we started to pay a little bit more attention to balancing our meals, having a balance of helpful fats, carbohydrates, and protein, and you know, carry that on throughout the day, then we're going to be able to pay more attention to, again, our appetite and our hunger, our fullness.
erin: if you're heading out tonight to celebrate new year's eve and you plan to drink, you probably know that you shouldn't get behind the wheel. but you also need to be careful if you are walking home, too. new year's day is one of the deadliest days of the year for pedestrians. according to the insurance institute for highway safety, between 2008 and 2012, more pedestrians died in traffic crashes on new year's day and halloween than on other days of the year. so, if you are walking, walk with a group, and stay out of the road as much as possible. and that's it for this edition of "nbc10 @issue." thanks for joining us. ♪
the number one anti-aging body treatment systemaid presentation for crepe erase, ... for crepey skin! (male announcer) that can deliver smoother, firmer, younger-looking skin on your arms, your legs, your hands, your chest, and even your neck! (female announcer) now, here's jane seymour, legendary actress and real crepe erase user. hi, i'm jane seymour. have you ever had a moment in your life when you find something that changes everything? well, my epiphany was an anti-aging body treatment system that actually made my skin look years younger! it's called crepe erase, and it's the easiest two step system that can transform the old- looking, crepe-papery skin we begin to see at a certain age, into visibly smoother, firmer, more beautiful skin, that looks as young as you feel!